WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 9, 2014) – Thursday the Army announced several changes to the Warrior Care and Transition Program designed to meet the evolving needs of the Army. These changes include Warrior Transition Unit organizational modifications, some WTU inactivations, and a shift in how the Army manages care and transition for Soldiers who are healing in their home communities.
Leaders said these changes are a result of a periodic review of the WTU force structure, a declining WTU population, and the Army’s continued commitment to provide the best care and support for wounded, ill and injured Soldiers. The Army Medical Command will implement the changes by September 30.
As a result of the force structure changes, the Community Based Warrior Transition Unit in Utah will be inactivated, and the cadre from that unit will transition to the Community Care Unit at Fort Riley.
Since its inception in 2007, the WCTP has evolved to meet the changing needs of wounded, ill and injured Soldiers and their Families. The WTU population of wounded, ill and injured Soldiers across the Army has steadily declined over the last 14 months by almost 3,000 with 7,070 Soldiers currently assigned to WTUs (as of Jan. 2, 2014).
Brig. Gen. John Cho, Commander, Western Regional Medical Command, says Warrior Care is an enduring mission and a sacred obligation.
“These changes reflect our commitment to keep the faith with our Soldiers and their Families,” Cho said. “Adapting our mission to serve a declining population of wounded, ill and injured Soldiers enhances the overall care we provide to our Soldiers.”
The following slated changes will occur this fiscal year across the Army:
* Establish 13 Community Care Units (CCUs) embedded within Warrior Transition Battalions (WTBs) at 11 Army installations.
* Inactivate all nine Community-Based Warrior Transition Units (CBWTUs) with medical management and mission command for Soldiers healing in their home communities transitioning to a WTB on an Army installation.
* Inactivate five WTUs where the populations of wounded, ill and injured Soldiers are extremely low.
According to Brig. Gen. David Bishop, Commander, Warrior Transition Command and Assistant Surgeon General for Warrior Care and Transition, “These changes will improve the care and transition of Soldiers through increased standardization, increased cadre to Soldier ratios, improved access to resources on installations, and reduced delays in care. They are not related to budget cuts, sequestration or furloughs.”
Warrior Transition Units are located on major military installations and provide support to wounded, ill and injured Soldiers who require at least six months of rehabilitative care and complex medical management. Community-Based Warrior Transition Units primarily provide outpatient care management and transition services for Army Reserve and National Guard Soldiers who do not need the day-to-day medical management provided by WTUs. Soldiers assigned or attached to CBWTUs receive care and transition support while living in their home communities or near their personal support network.
The Community Care concept realigns the management of Soldiers healing at home to a CCU assigned to an installation WTU. Cadre will provide medical management and mission command of Soldiers within their designated area of responsibility. These Soldiers will continue to receive the benefits of a dedicated unit of Cadre, Triad of Leadership, Medical Treatment Facility
(MTF) staff, Warrior Transition Battalion staff and installation resources to ensure that all Soldiers have the same experience across the program.
According to Colonel Keith Brothers, WTC Deputy Chief of Staff and National Guard Advisor, “Soldiers will not relocate and will continue to receive care through the TRICARE network. Additionally staffing modifications will allow WTUs to add physical therapists, occupational therapists, transition coordinators, mail clerks and drivers; and also improves nurse case manager and squad leader ratios.”
Thirteen CCUs will stand up at the following Army installations: Fort Carson, Colo.; Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.; Forts Hood and Bliss, Texas; Fort Riley, Kan.; Fort Knox, Ky.; Forts Benning, Stewart, and Gordon, Ga.; Fort Bragg, N.C.; and Fort Belvoir, Va. Forts Belvoir and Knox will each have two CCUs.
WTUs slated for inactivation include: Fort Irwin, Calif.; Fort Huachuca, Ariz.; Fort Jackson, S.C.; Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst; and the United States Military Academy, West Point, N.Y. Each of these WTUs has fewer than 38 Soldiers assigned to these units will transition back to the force or into Veteran status by the end of September.
Bishop said that Active Duty personnel assigned to units set for inactivation or force structure reductions will be reassigned in accordance with Army policies. Reserve Component cadre will have the option of remaining on their current tour of duty until it expires, but not later than Sept. 30. They may also volunteer for early release from Active Duty or request reassignments to new positions.
The Army will ensure maximum support for permanent civilian cadre including reassignments at home installations, relocation to another installation or possibly Voluntary Early Retirements and Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay.